MOSCOW (AP) - Russian authorities on Wednesday shrugged off the massive rallies against the jailing of top Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny and rejected Western criticism as "hysterics" as activists reported more than 1,400 new arrests in the crackdown on protesters.
A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered Navalny to prison for two years and eight months, finding that he violated the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany from a nerve-agent poisoning. The ruling immediately ignited new protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg that followed massive rallies over the past two weekends.
Speaking in court, Navalny denounced the accusations against him as fabricated and driven by President Vladimir Putin's "fear and hatred," saying that the Russian leader will go down in history as a "poisoner."
Asked to comment on Navalny's speech, which was shared widely on Russian social media platforms, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded that it's not up to him to determine Putin's place in history.